Photo by Kelly White
Members of the Bigane family (from left) — Jane Pollard, Anne Bigane, Meg Bigane and Sheila Bigane — attended the blessing and dedication of the new Bigane Drive at Mother McAuley High School.
By Kelly White
As part of a mission to continuously create a beautiful campus, Mother McAuley High School held a dedication ceremony for the new Bigane Way.
The road located at the back of the high school at 3737 W. 99th St. in Chicago, known as Bigane Way, was designed and repaved. This included the widening of the road to allow for more parking spaces and adding new sewers to improve drainage.
It was named Bigane Way in recognition of the Bigane family’s tremendous support of the Future Ready campaign, including McAuley graduates, Anne, ’76 for her leadership as campaign chair, and her sisters: Katie, ’78; Sheila, ’79; Meg, ’82; Julie, ’84; and their parents, Ed and Jane Bigane.
“ My sisters and I see this as a way to honor our parents and their legacy, especially their belief in the importance of single-gender Catholic education,” Anne Bigane Wilson said.
Prior to the renovation, the road had no formal name but was often referred to as the “McAuley Little 500” by current students and alumnae. Bigane Paving was the lead contractor for the renovation and worked in partnership with the architecture firm, Wight & Co., on the project design and execution. The work was completed from June through August 2020.
An intimate gathering of members of the McAuley community, including current families, alumnae, donors, supporters and friends were invited to the commemoration of the new Bigane Way this fall. During the brief ceremony, the new road was blessed by the Rev. Larry Donovan, from Christ the King Parish.
“ It is such a privilege and an honor to be a part of this wonderful celebration,” Donovan said.
Mary Acker Klingenberger, the Mother McAuley president, also gave brief remarks at the event.
“ This dedication allows Mother McAuley to publicly thank and acknowledge the many years of financial support and counsel the Bigane family members have provided to the school dating back almost 50 years with Ed and Jane Bigane,” Klingenberger said.
McAuley’s Future-Ready is a five-year campaign to make McAuley’s campus “Future Ready” so its students are prepared for college, careers, civic engagement and community and home. Launched in January 2017, the campaign is the school’s largest, most ambitious, and most important fundraising effort since the school opened on 99th Street in 1956.
No funding for Future-Ready has been derived from tuition; the proceeds come exclusively from many very generous donors. To-date, $5.8 million in donations have been committed.
Phase 1 of the campaign was completed in summer 2017 and included a transformation of the school’s student lounge into a lighter, brighter and newly-furnished space for students to gather and collaborate on assignments, build community, relax, and enjoy refreshments at the Kitty Mac Café. Additional upgrades were made to the school’s main Circle Drive entrance off 99th Street to provide 21st century safety and security that is invisible, yet essential for all. New administrative offices also were created.
Phase 2 was completed in summer 2018 and featured the reinvigoration of 17,000 square feet of C-wing classrooms and hallways. Highlights included the addition of modernized and environmentally-conscious finishes and surfaces; 21st century, modular furniture; LED, energy-efficient lighting, with smart controls; the latest in technology including flat-panel televisions that allow for compatibility with the iPad; and activated corridors with benches to create more usable space to stimulate informal learning.
“ My sisters and I enjoyed the many opportunities McAuley and its beautiful campus provided us as students, and now, as alumnae, we wish to continue to ‘pay it forward’ and to assist the young women who benefit from a lifetime advantage of a McAuley education,” Anne Bigane said.